While traveling, I met many backpackers on a classic around the world trip, that would bring them at some point through New York City. When they found out that I used to live in Manhattan, I was immediately asked a million questions on what to see and do. This is a subject I could talk about for hours, and I was always writing down suggestions on scraps of paper. Most of my suggestions are away from the main tourist areas and are things that I would like to do while living in the city.
Note: This is for people that don't want the Times Square and typical guide book tourist experience.Without further ado, here are my top things to do, see, eat, and places to go in New York City...and that includes the boroughs too.
Central Park. If it's summer time, bring a blanket, picnic basket, and a frisbee, and hang out in Sheep's Meadow. Check out the dancing rollerbladers/rollerskaters on the east side of Sheep's Meadow near the beach volleyball courts. In the summertime there are free concerts at Summer Stage. The New York Philharmonic also has several summer shows on the Great Lawn.
Prospect Park. Located next to Park Slope and Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, it's almost as big as Central Park, but not as busy. You can actually relax and bbq if you want to. There are also free shows in the summertime similar to Central Park.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). Located on 5th Avenue, in Central Park. I think it's the best museum in the world, but that's just my opinion. The good news is that it's pay what you can by suggested donation. Most people don't know this, but you can give $1 if that's what you can afford.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Located on W. 53rd Street, near the 5th Avenue. It's actually free on Fridays after 4 pm.
PS 1. Located in Long Island City, Queens, in an old public school building (public school #1) that was converted into a modern art gallery, and is run by MoMA. Head there on Saturday afternoons in the summer for the Warm Up parties.
The Cloisters. Located in the upper northwest corner of Manhattan, The Cloisters is an oasis in the city. It's a medieval museum with outdoor gardens. Go in the summertime and bring a book. It's also run by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so the entry fee is a suggested donation as well.
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